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VR for rehabilitation
Virtual Reality to improve patient recovery times

The innovative Virtual Reality research and development by the University of Birmingham’s Human Interface Technologies Team, led by Professor Bob Stone has won a West Midlands Tech award for their work supporting cognitive and physical rehabilitation of intensive care unit patients following traumatic injury or complex injury.

This award which Is the Team’s third healthcare innovation award in 15 months, is testament to the tangible results and improved outcomes for patients in trials using virtual reality in hospitals within the West Midlands as well as its use in other areas of the UK. By taking scenes of nature and recreating them in a virtual reality experience, medical equipment such as the MOTOmed – a device used by patients whilst lying or sitting to strengthen muscles – are far more interesting to use and results have shown quicker patient recovery times.

Professor Bob Stone and his team are focused on clearly demonstrating what virtual reality can and cannot do, looking at what is practically possible and able to be implemented today, to be successful both now and in the future. The team has collaborated with the UK’s Defence Medical Services to develop an internationally acclaimed Mixed Reality approach to training for Medical Emergency Response Teams, which could also help civilian emergency specialists. The researchers and their students are also developing “Virtual Fantasy Garden Quests” for children suffering with chronic pain, one of which includes chasing chocolate unicorns and finding candy canes! Other developments include virtual reality relaxation scenes, narrated by David Attenborough.